Go-karts are designed to be super light on the track, and extra weight leads to less speed, which is not what you want as a driver. This is one of the reasons that go-karts do not have power steering. Installing it does not justify the extra weight, as you are perfectly capable of steering your go-kart by yourself without the help of power steering.
Go-karts do not have power steering. Adding power steering to your kart will add extra weight, decrease the engine power, and is an expensive, unnecessary exercise. The degree of steering effort does not warrant the installation. Go-kart drivers steer the kart with their arms using physical force.
When you consider that go-karts do not have power steering, it becomes clear that the steering wheel needs to have a comfortable grip. A typical steering wheel is made from aluminum, ranges from 10-12 inches in width, and is normally wrapped with molded neoprene fingertips. This provides a cushy grip that protects the hands as you battle the track with your kart.
Is It Hard To Steer A Go Kart?
The consensus is that go-karting is a physically taxing sport, most drivers struggle initially, but it does get easier as you improve your strength. Steering the go-kart is the hardest part of the whole experience. Exercising your core and arms are vitally important if you are looking to make a career out of the sport.
Just like any other sport, there are multiple disciplines that you need to master before you become good at it. Steering is one of them. That said, if you can turn the wheel, technically, you should then be able to drive the go-kart. This is the minimum requirement before you can officially start dreaming of winning a race.
Helpful Hints To Make Steering A Go Kart Easier
- Positioning your hands on the wheel is very important. The suggested position is a ‘’quarter to three’’ grip, and it will give you maximum control over the kart. This grip will also allow quicker reaction time when sliding occurs. Never drive with only one hand on the steering wheel.
- Brake harder going into a corner. This is not a normal road car. Braking like you would in your car is not going to work for your kart. Hit the brakes hard, just before locking them, steadily and slowly releasing them as you approach the apex of the corner. Doing this will make cornering easier.
- Don’t turn into the corner too early. Entering the corner too early will result in you sliding wide when exiting. Rather slow down a bit before cornering, making sure that you accelerate when you hit the corner apex, as this will reduce the sliding and improve your lap time.
- Use every millimeter of the track to race on. Take corners as wide as possible, edging the entry and exit points, and try to hit the apex right on. Full track usage will make driving an easier experience and add to your general speed.
- Smooth steering instead of aggressive steering will lessen the hardship on the track. Smooth driving equates to precision driving, which is needed to race fast. When you steer too hard or aggressively, jerking on the steering wheel will cause the kart to understeer when cornering. This makes controlling the kart harder, putting extra pressure on your arms when you rectify the movement.
- Look into the distance when racing. Most people find the first experience in a go-kart overwhelming and rarely look beyond their kart at first. Gazing further up the track will slow everything down, giving you time to plan your next move. Preparation is the key to execution, seeing the apex as you enter the corner, spotting the next corner as you exit one, and prepares you mentally for what is coming your way.
- Don’t get out of the way of faster or more experienced drivers. Focus on your race, your driving, and staying on track. Let them work at passing you, as trying to get out of their way could get you into trouble. Concentrate on what these faster drivers are doing and start implementing it into your driving style. One day you will be flying around the rookies.
Make sure that you have a comfortable seat and that all your safety equipment is up to standard. Regularly maintaining and checking the kart’s mechanics is suggested. Everything must be geared to make your drive easier, not harder, as go-karting is hard enough as it is.
Even though it is widely considered unnecessary, you can install a power steering mechanism in your go-kart. The downside of this installation is that your kart will be heavier, slower, and expensive to install. You will cope perfectly without it.
How Does The Steering Of A Go Kart Work?
The steering system of a go-kart is a simple design. Let me break it down in layman’s terms;
- The steering wheel is connected to a steering shaft.
- The steering shaft is connected to two tie rods (one left and one right)
- The tie rods are connected to a spindle on each side.
- A kingpin bolt fastens the spindles
When you turn the steering wheel, the spindle will turn, allowing you to make the left and right turn with your go-kart. Steering a go-kart can be a bit difficult in the beginning. Besides strengthening your arms and core, the best way to make steering easier is to practice.
The more you get behind the wheel and drive the go-kart, the more comfortable steering will become. It is as simple as practice, practice, and some more practice!
Can You Add Power Steering To Your Go-Kart?
It is possible to modify your normal steering to that of a power steering system. Just bear in mind that it will add weight to your kart (which is designed as light as possible to maximize speed output), use some of the engine’s power to function (making it slower), and is expensive to install.
What Is Steering Effort And Can It Be Measured?
This term refers to the force it takes to turn the steering wheel. You can measure this force by attaching a tension-type weighing scale to the steering wheel. The steering force will depend largely on the wheel’s width; the bigger the wheel, the less steering force will be needed.
Steering a go-kart can be hard at first. Steering will put tremendous strain on your arms and core when you start go-karting. You will build up to racing stamina and the muscles needed to steer the kart more efficiently every time you get behind the wheel and drive the kart.
Gary Player once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get”, which is very true when steering a go-kart. You can exercise your arms and your core with additional training programs, but the best training is racing the kart, as the muscles needed to steer will develop themselves accordingly.
The actual steering wheel becomes a crucial role player, seeing that go-karts do not have power steering in their design, so it’s best to choose the most comfortable steering wheel for your grip. When choosing a steering wheel, make sure it’s light in design. Always wrap it with neoprene (with molded fingertips), as the wheel needs to feel comfortable to your touch, not increasing fatigue but rather elevating it.
We have discussed a few essential helpful hints to make driving the go-kart a little easier. One hint that stands out for me is the ‘’quarter to three” grip. Go ahead and test this for yourself, the professional drivers all use it, and if they can control the car so expertly with it, one day you will too.
Practice makes perfect!